Last year I started a new little venture. It was not even supposed to be a venture when I started it, but it is growing and I am super excited. Mostly I am excited as I get to share my absolute love of running with more and more women.
Over the past few years, I have been getting asked quite a bit about running. Mostly by the mom’s at school when I drop Kaylin off but also by other people I meet. I seem to spend most of my time in running clothes (and it is my main topic of conversation – yes I am that person)
The questions I was getting were all quite similar.
But how do you do it?
I’d love to start running but have no idea where to begin…
I’ll never be a runner, I can’t get around the block or even the next lamp pole.
I can’t breathe when I run…
I don’t even know what clothes or shoe to wear…
I was not really surprised to be getting these questions, I used to think most of them myself when I first attempted to run. What did surprise me was how often I was getting them and then how many women came to me a month or two later and said I had been the motivation they needed to start running and my comments had really helped them. Quite a few started running regularly and we now run races together. A number of even suggested I put together something to help more women. After thinking about it for a while I decided to do just that. Informally at first, but last year October I made it a little more formal and held my first 8 Weeks to 5Km Challenge. I had 50 women sign up – I was totally blown away!!!! I did not realise just how many women wanted to start running but just needed a little bit of guidance and support.
Over the past year I have hosted a few more 8 Weeks to 5km Challenges, put together a website and am now trying to hold a new Challenge every 6 weeks or so.
I have a new Challenge that started today and I am super excited. I love getting to share this journey with women who either have never run before or who have been out of running for a while and would like to get back into it. I have also decided to start blogging again mostly about running. My new website is www.8weeksto5km.com and my blog is over there as well.
This year has had some serious lows but also quite a few highs.
The lowest of the lows was getting divorced! Clearly not something anybody wants or plans on happening and as one friend pointed out I hate to fail and to me this is a failure. Which brings us to low point number 2 Comrades….. See point one for reasons of not finishing….. At the time I was on a bit of an emotional roller coaster and my mind was not in the race. I knew before starting I was not going to finish but I wanted to start all the same.
The then highs, of which there are many.
The biggest high is how proud I am of myself. I feel like I have taken control of my life and I bought and renovated a house which Kaylin and I now live in.
When I first showed my brother my house he looked at me and asked what the hell I had done. It was a dump! The before photos don’t really show just how bad it was.
I called in the professionals for the heavy stuff – replacing the kitchen, the bathroom, the flooring and bricking in a doorway but other than that I did it all myself. In 5 weeks I totally renovated the inside of a smallish 3 bedroom double storey townhouse. I painted it from top to bottom myself, this included the ceilings and skirting’s; and when I say by myself that is exactly what I mean. I prepped, I filled, I sanded and I even plastered one section. I worked FLIPPEN hard! My brother helped me put up the curtain rails but I put up everything else – the towel rails, pictures etc. The only thing that has me stumped a little is upstairs is drywall and I am not sure how to hang pictures on that…. (so far the ones that are up use double sided Velcro tape). I will do a more detailed blog post with before’s and after’s. The day we moved in I fetched Krypto from Animal Welfare…. Don’t get a puppy the day you move house!!!! Having him in our lives is a high though.
The other high was finishing the Otter Trail Run in 10h25 a full 35 minutes under the 11 hour cut-off…. I realised then how motivated I am by a medal. At one stage when it did not look like we were going to make under the cut-off I said to my sister “I have to have this medal, I have had a disastrous year, I NEED this medal” So we ran – thank goodness it is a flippen big medal because we worked hard for that damn thing! I am very pleased I did it – I won’t EVER be doing that race again (this time I am serious NEVER EVER)
Other highs… I love having a 5 year old (most of the time) She is still hard work but getting better.
My gorgeous sister got married to an awesome guy in April. The 3 of us ran did the Otter Trail together and at one point near the end when we were actually running he said to me. “We are doing so well, we are going to make this. Pamela, you are setting a cracking pace……” which I felt I was, until I looked at my watch…. 8:40m/km It was however our fasted kilometer in the whole race.
Krypto – my cute street puppy…. I went to a second hand furniture place and outside the door were these guys selling a little puppy… I wanted to try and get them to give it to me as it had a chain around its neck too tight and they were carrying it around by that but they wouldn’t. They then put him in the back of a bakkie and were about to drive off. I could not let that happen so I asked them how much – R150.00 I said I only had R100 so they said ok an gave me the dog…. But now, what do I do with it? Besides the fact that we had a German Shepherd that is not very social we had also had a puppy visit us a few months before that unfortunately passed away from Parvo Virus. The virus can stay alive for up to 6 months on your property and can then infect anther puppy in that time, so I knew I could not take him home. So I took him to Animal Welfare. I said to them that I really wanted him and I knew I was moving in about 4 – 5 weeks’ time and could get him then abut at that moment I just could not keep him. If he found another home they must let him go, but if not I will come back and adopt him. Which I did 6 weeks later – the day we moved.
This year has also made me once again realise how awesome my family and friends are. Especially my sister – there nearly a 10 year age difference between us but we still manage to be great friends. I am not sure I would cope so well without her.
My running highs are that fact that I had a PB in nearly every distance this year. 10km, 15km, 21.1km, Marathon and Ultra Marathon. I have been running for 10 years and am getting faster in my 40’s (training more probably helps) I also did my first Trail Ultra – the ADDO 44km and it was AWESOME I have entered that one again for 2016. My 2016 race calendar looks pretty similar to my 2015 one except I am NOT doing the Otter Trail. I might go back and do Dryland. I really missed it this year.
I also finished a couple of paintings this year… in 2014 I didn’t finish any. They are both acrylic on canvas and small 20 cm x 30 cm. I am quite proud of both of them.
So, all in all I had a good year. I am however hoping that 2016 will be much better!!
This week I am proud of how much my downhill running skills have improved. Exactly a year ago on the Lake Farm Charity Trail run a friend , feeling very sorry for me, gave me a quick 101 beginner course in downhill running. (Thank you Sheena :-))
Downhill running, especially on trails, has been a real weakness for me but over the past year I have been practising a lot. I have been making a concerted effort to run the downhill’s, not to be overly cautious, not to slide down on my bum (although I still do that in parts) and it seem to have paid off.
This weekend, again on the Lake Farm Charity Trail Run I passed quite a few people on the downhill’s and not only did I pass them somebody called me “Speedy Gonzales” as I went by. (I am not entirely sure she meant that as a compliment but I am taking it)
I am super proud of myself. I still need to work on the technical down hills as I am still pretty useless on those, but I think that is more a strength issue (I see squats and lunges in my future)
What are you proud of this week?
I just love these medals, I now have 3 and they are gorgeous. They are handmade by the residents of the Lake Farm Centre. For more info about the centre visit their website HERE
All in all it was a great day – an awesome 15km trail run where we saw loads of buck including giraffe. Being called Speedy Gonzales on a downhill and a second-hand book sale at the end (I got a bit carried away as the books were only R3.00) What more could you ask for on a Saturday morning and all before 9:00am!
This week I am proud of myself for completing my first trail ultra – and not losing my sense of humour once. It is the second longest running race I have ever done and by far the longest time on my legs. It took me 7h21 minutes. I did the Addo Elephant Trail Run 44 km. My first of 3 planned Ultra‘s for the year and the only one on trail.
I am not going to lie it was tough, but I loved it. There were parts where the trail was so steep that I slid back and a hill where I began to wonder why on earth I had not done more (read any) squats or lunges in preparation but all in all I did not find it too bad.
My sister and I and more than a few friends completed the 44km Addo Elephant Trail, there was also a 76km, which I did not even contemplate, although my husband has said he will not be surprised WHEN I tell him I am going to do it 🙂
I was a little nervous going into this – the route profile is hectic and well, it is 44km on trail so not for the faint hearted, but I had heard it was beautiful.
We ran through the Addo Elephant Park – but not the section with the elephants or lions (I might have run bit faster then….) and the area is absolutely breath-taking. We started at Kabouga Gate and ended at Zuurberg Mountain Inn. The scenery and terrain varied so much from dense bush to open plateaus with spectacular views. There was even a rock pool that we swam in at the 37km mark and it was very difficult to get out of that cool water.
Here are few photos but they and my words do not do the area justice.
Thanks to everyone that ran with me, especially Heather, Nicola and Georgie. Well done to everybody that finished both runs.
This year’s race was superbly organised by Free Spirit Adventures. It was their first year having just taken it over and although I am not sure what it was like before to me they did a fantastic job.
What are you proud of this week (remember it does not have to be sports related)
On Saturday it was the Rafi’s Friendly City Marathon and it was my first big race for the year. After the marathon in December I was not holding out much hope for it…
I trained a tiny bit more this time with a couple of runs around the 30km mark, but I also realised that before my last one I did everything wrong so this time I made sure my race prep was better. I ate properly the entire week leading up to it and especially the day before. For me this means staying off the grains, eating more fats and making sure I get loads of green veggies in. I also made sure that I was off my feet for most of Friday.
My other plans was to implement a run/walk strategy right from the start. They had a water point every 3 km and I planned to walk every single one of them, right from the third kilometer, whether I felt I need to or not. I also planned on walking the two hills. My plan in the December marathon was the total opposite. I planned on running until 21km and then seeing what happened.
So, how did it go? ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!
I could not have asked for a better marathon. Not only did I get a personal best of over 21 minutes, I got a better seeding for Comrades (so now my sister and I are in the same batch) and better that all of that I loved every minute of it. There was not a minute in the race where I felt like it was too far or I was aching. There were a few points where I was counting down till the next water point so I could walk, but they seemed to come pretty quickly.
Right from the start I walked every water point. It was so tempting to run the first few, especially the 3km one as I felt fine but I stuck to my plan. The first time I walked not at a water point was on the first hill and that was in the last 10 km. I had planned on walking that anyway. I think my last 5 kilometers were about the quickest of the entire race. I cannot believe the difference from the marathon 2 months ago! It just shows what a difference a clear plan and good race prep can do.
I now feel so much more confident for the rest of my goals for this year. My next major one is at the end of the month – the Addo Elephant Trail Run 44km. At least with this, it’s a trail run so I will be taking my camera and appreciating the amazing scenery of the Eastern Cape.
I have been running a lot more than last winter! That was not hard, last winter I was off injured for the majority of the time.
There are some amazing trails around PE and we have been making the most of them. Most of them are free, some you pay a nominal amount – all are very worth it.
Here are a few of my favourite photos
First, My favourite one of me running. (Thank you Willie Lawson for taking it)
Did you know that it is free to visit the Van Stadens Flower reserve and there are walks, runs and mountain bike trails that you can use all year round.
Notes on the 3 of the venues:
In Port Elizabeth – Baakens Valley – FREE!! There are many access points to the Valley all throughout the city. It is free to run, walk or bike here but it is advisable to go in a group. We have not had any problems but I have heard of some people being harrased or mugged. BE CAREFUL
Port Elizabeth – Surrounding areas:
Van Stadens Flower Reserve, access on on the same road as the Van Stadens Pass and Woodridge Schools. You can visit the Facebook group “Friends of Van Stadens or the website VAN STADENS: for more info. The reserve spans both sides of the N2 and is stunning. Entry is free of charge and there are easy walks, hikes and bike paths. There are also more challenging trails for running and walking. The vegetation is diverse and has wooded areas and fynbos. It is awesome.
3 Rivers Trails– Crossways Farm Village Cost R40.00 For more information visit their Facebook page or website 3 Rivers Trails. The trails are marked and there are many different options for mountain biking, running and walking and all different distances. Each time we have been we have done a different route. Those that did the Port Elizabeth leg of the Rhino Run will know it – this was the venue. Sign in and pay at the Crossways Farm Village Country Kitchen. If you plan on doing parts of the Longmore Forest, you will also need a forestry permit.
If you would like to stay up to date on trail runs in the Port Elizabeth area there is a group on Facebook called Trail Adventures which is updated regularly.
After a bit of “encouragement” from some fellow blogging friends, I have decided to update my blog.
I have no excuses except life and a new business got in the way. I love blogging and stopping was not intentional. I used to blog during working hours (my lunch break if any of my ex bosses are reading…..) and now that I am at home I don’t get that opportunity.
So, here are few things that have happened over the past couple of months
Business is going well and I LOVE working from home. I am finding it a lot more stressful, and I am a lot busier than I was when I worked a full day. I am not exactly sure how that works but I seemed to be able to fit more in back then.
I ran Two Oceans Ultra Marathon and LOVED IT! It was tough, I was not sure I would finish at about the 15km mark but as soon as I got passed halfway I started to enjoy it. I fell over one of the stupid cat’s eyes in the road but I think it might just have been the shot of adrenaline I needed. Even though I hurt my hip, shoulder and elbow I had no grazes which was lucky. I just wanted to finish under the 7 hour cut off and I did 6h53 so was very happy.
I am travelling more. I should probably just say I am travelling. More implies I did a little bit before. I didn’t. Now I do. I am going to all the large sports expo’s around the country and having great fun. My mom came with me to Durban for the Comrades expo and it was awesome. It is so nice to meet up with so many people that I have only previously “met” via my Blog, Twitter or Facebook. I will be coming up to Johannesburg again in November so hopefully I can make a plan and meet up with a few people when there.
Myself, and pretty much the rest of South Africa seem to be following a lower carb diet. I dropped sugar from my tea and coffee about 2 years ago and am now consciously trying to eat less carbs. Through this, I have realised that wheat and me don’t work well together. It has been a very interesting experiment of one (me). I started following the LCHF way of eating in January and have lost 8kg since then, although weight loss was not my primary reason. I had not been feeling great for a while and although I did not realise it, I was having digestive issues. By removing most carbs from my diet and then by reintroducing them (cheating) at various stages I noticed that I felt really awful after some things but perfectly fine after others. I am still doing the LCHF thing unless Mr OL makes mash potatoes. He makes great mash.
Then a few random things:
I still love trail running and my sister and I have entered the Dryland Traverse again – this time as a team. I am so glad its trail running season again.
I have decided after 42 years of not liking the look of succulent plants I want a succulent garden…… I went to a wedding and they had succulents as centre pieces and it looked amazing. I have been collecting plants from various places so will keep you updated.
I want to learn how to crochet again…. I learnt at primary school but have not done any since.
Little OL is growing – and 4 is a gorgeous age (so much better than 3)
I must be getting old – succulent plants and crocheted items alway makes me think of old people – yikes
I cannot believe that we are mid-way through December and I have not even started my Christmas shopping yet…… YIKES!!! My family is easy – we do a Secret Santa and so only have to buy for one person. I happened to get Mr OL, which is a bit of a problem as I now need to get him 2 gifts. We also all generally give my mom something additional as well – but she likes hand made stuff so that’s done. At least Father Christmas is on the ball so Little OL is sorted. My in-laws…. hmmmmm I really need to get to the shops soon.
I have a good excuse for not having gotten to the shops earlier… I have been working hard! So many people have contacted SA Medal Hangers for custom made or personal medal hangers – it has been awesome. I love coming up with the new designs. But because of that , I have decided to create a new blog. This will showcase SA Medal Hangers’ custom-made or personalised medal hangers. We have created so may awesome one off designs and they won’t all get displayed on our website, so to give people some inspiration or ideas when ordering their own medal hanger I thought this might work. What do you think?
So, its been exactly a month since my last day of official employment and BOY OH BOY what a month. I have never been this busy or this excited or this stressed. And I have loved it!
It started with me trying to get ready, not only for the Dryland Traverse but also the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge Expo. The timing was not good as there was no cell phone reception at the De Hoek camp site where the Dryland was based, but thankfully they had set up Wi-Fi, if a bit temperamental at times. I was going to be away for 4 days and then back for only 1 day before leaving for Johannesburg, so I needed to get everything done before I left for the run.
I was also worried about driving from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg by myself and then concerned about actually driving in Johannesburg. Both of which were fine. It took me about 80km to remember that I LOVE driving on my own. I turned the music up to the max and had a blast. I did get a few odd looks at some of the stop and go’s with my music rocking the Kombi. Not sure if it was the volume or my dodgy taste in music though…..
Thanks to Firefly for the recommendation on a accommodation as it was less than a kilometre from the Coca Cola dome and very easy to find when coming in from the N1. No problems there.
Then the expo – I was not sure how it would go. It was totally foreign territory to me. I did not know how much stock to take, if people would buy or just want info. I just hoped I sold some….. which I did. Not as much as I would have liked but the interest was high and as custom orders are our biggest seller most people wanted info to order later. Which thankfully a lot have done. That has totally exceeded my expectation. In fact I am bouncing around on Cloud 9 at the moment. I know a lot of the medal hangers ordered are for Christmas presents so January will be really quiet, but considering I have only just started I am ecstatic.
Here is a photo of the SA Medal Hangers stand at the expo. What do you think? As it was our first expo, I learnt a lot of stuff. I will do the stand slightly differently next time, I will take less stock but have more staff and hopefully I will be a lot less stressed…….. Our next major expo is at the Cape Argus Cycle Tour in Cape Town in March and I can’t wait.
Then, did anybody spot SA Medal Hangers in a few of the magazines…… We got write ups in the Runner’s World and the RIDE SA magazines . I had sent them the info but had no idea they would use it – happiness is
So, what can I say! This has been one heck of a year. My work goal for the year was by the end of 2013 to go half day in formal employment and to try and to have found something else on the side, which hopefully by the end of next year would be enough to take over. Being retrenched kind of kicked that goal out the window, but it was replaced by something so much bigger. My word for the year was DO and I think I have done just that. 2013 has one month left and I am excited for it and then even more excited for 2014!
Today is my last “official” day at work. I say official because I have only been popping in and out over the past week (trying to get used to unemployment 🙂 )
I must admit that I am quite sad to leave this job. I have been working here for the past 6 years, which has been my longest stretch at one place. Before that my longest was 3 years. I have met some amazing people and have learnt a lot. People have had confidence in me and I have changed positions in the company a couple of times with my latest one being Compliance Liaison Manager, a position I enjoyed and nothing like I have done before.
But, I am also excited to leave. Although it was not my choice it is most definitely time. I have known for a while that me working full time and Little OL being at the school she is at just does not work. The days are too long for her if left in After Care and although I could fetch her at lunch and take her home which I have been doing for the past few months it is far from ideal.
Now I will be working from home, so get to spend the afternoons with her. My hours will be more flexible (set by myself) and it is something that I am passionate about. I LOVE sports, and I get so excited by what others have achieved. It is awesome that I get to see the medals that people have earned and that they are telling me the stories behind them. It also great that I am getting to be creative with the designs of the medal hangers. (can you tell I am excited about this…… lol)
So, today is a mixture of happiness, sadness and excitement. Another chapter begins!
Here are a few photos of customers hangers that they have sent me. I love seeing them!